Tag Archives: Abrahamic

BOOK REVIEW: THE ROZABAL LINE … Ashwin Sanghi

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    Let me take you through this very interesting book written by famous author Ashwin Sanghi some time back. The name of the book is ‘The Rozabal Line’ an engrossing novel of some three hundred and fifty pages.

    It is a thriller fiction by Ashwin Sanghi, written under the pseudonym Shawn Haigins. The book was originally published in 2007. A revised edition of which was also published by Westland Ltd & Tranquebar Press in 2008 under the author’s own name. I’m purposefully bringing this book to you so late because it is a very well researched fiction novel that can live through times. Most certainly It has a long shelf life for it’ll keep resurrecting itself at appropriate intervals. But before I take you through my comments as a reader let me first take you through the plot of this masterpiece.

    Let me first begin by asking did Jesus survive his execution? Well, the novel does deal with the story of Jesus having survived the crucifixion and later his settling in India. The fictional spark of the novel I suppose comes in the same rhythm as Dan Brown’s—’The Da Vinci Code.’ I brooded over the book for some time before deciding to read it again. The title of the book draws its name from the Rozabal Shrine in Srinagar, located in Kashmir. Some cynosures such as Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is said to have been the first person who claimed in 1899, that Rozabal was the burial place of Jesus of Nazareth. The historical basis of the novel is derived from several other books on the subject including ‘Jesus Lived in India’ by Holger Kersten and ‘The Unknown Life of Jesus’ by Nicolas Notovich.

    A cardboard box is found on a shelf in a London library. When the bewildered librarian opens it. She screams before she falls unconscious on the floor. Within the winding recesses of the Vatican, a beautiful assassin of Asian origin by the name of Swakilki swears she will eliminate all who do not believe in her twisted credo.

    A deadly elite army of thirteen calling itself the Lashkar-e-Talatashar is scattered around the globe. The fate of its members curiously resembles that of Christ and his Apostles. Their agenda is clearly Armageddon.

    The forces of Islam and the forces of Christianity are positioning themselves for the greatest conflict ever. At the end of this conflict, they will both destroy themselves. And then will rise the New World Order—the power of the Illuminati.

    A Hindu astrologer Pandit Ram Gopal Sharma spots the approaching configuration of the stars and nods to himself at the grim realization of the end of the world. In Tibet, a group of Buddhist monks search for reincarnation, much in the way their ancestors searched Judea for the Son of God. In the strife-torn Kashmir, a tomb called Rozabal holds the key to a riddle that arises in Jerusalem and gets answered at Vaishno Devi. The plot insinuates Hinduism could be the mother of all religions being the one of the oldest. It dwells on the holy triad. The configuration of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and Kali Lakshmi and Saraswati.

    An American priest, Father Vincent Sinclair has disturbing visions of people familiar to him, except that they seem to exist in other ages. Induced into past-life regressions, he moves to India to piece together the violent images. Shadowing his every move is the Crux Decussata Permuta, a clandestine secret society that would rather wipe out entire creation than allow an ancient secret from being disclosed.

    The Rozabal Line is a thriller spanning between continents and centuries, with Ashwin Sanghi, under the pseudonym Shawn Haigins, telling a story that goes back to the time of the birth of the Abrahamic religions. Let us see what the peridocals had to say about this novel. According to Tehelka, one of India’s news magazines, “The Rozabal Line” is a thriller that enquires into the controversial claim that Jesus Christ travelled to India and is buried in Kashmir’s Rozabal Tomb”.

    The Hindu, one of India’s National dailies, says that “The book deals in greater depth with the issue of Christ’s union with Mary Magdalene touched upon by The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown as well as incorporating postulates of several other books, including Jesus Lived in India: Life Before and After the Crucifixion by Holger Kersten and Jesus Died In Kashmir: Jesus, Moses and The Ten Lost Tribes Of Israel by Andreas Kaiser.” After the novel was published, due to attention drawn to the site by others as well as the story told in the book, there was a large upsurge of visitors to the Rozabal Shrine in Srinagar. (I have just returned from Srinagar).

    At a talk delivered in Chennai, the author said, “We assume the different faiths are distinctly different, but once you start tracing back the roots of their beliefs, you find their origins are much closer than you might imagine.” Irrespective of the controversial theme surrounding his book, the author has continuously maintained that his book is a work of fiction and should be read as a fiction conspiracy thriller. In an interview with a leading tabloid, the author was asked: “Do you believe that Jesus lived in India?” and he replied, “I don’t think it’s in any way relevant if he came here or not. But do I wish it was true? Yes, completely. Isn’t that such a romantic notion?” MV Kamath, the leading commentator, has said that the book is “provocative, but certainly commanding attention.”

     The ongoing controversial nature of the story surrounding the tomb, as promoted by various people such as those of the Ahmadiyya movement and as also explored in this book, resulted in the site being closed down to visitors, particularly after Lonely Planet—a travel guide book detailed the tomb.

Similarities to the November 2008 Mumbai attacks:

The Hindustan Times was the first to point out that Sanghi’s novel bore several similarities to the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. In particular, Sanghi’s novel spoke of an attack by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist terror group based in Pakistan controlled Kashmir. It also spoke of the Lashkar spinning off an ultra-elite group of twelve commandos, similar to the Deccan Mujahideen. The plot of The Rozabal Line used a ship off the coast of Gujarat as well as a Thuraya satellite phone besides describing the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower as the residence of one of the main characters in the story. Sanghi also described the group as being controlled by the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan without the knowledge of the Pakistani president. All these elements were purportedly present in the November 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks. Consequently, The Hindu, included The Rozabal Line among its top fiction picks while The Telegraph included The Rozabal Line among its top “Paperback Pickings”.

    The author has clarified in a subsequent interview that he was unhappy about the commonalities although he readily agrees to being called a “conspiracy theorist”.

     Friends, what is more fun, reading the book after knowing the story or reading it first to know the story? You decide. My observations on the narration are as follows:

    The plot of this novel is derived out of an extremely ancient event or happening that affected the entire world over. The author therefore takes you around the world. His imagination is no less than Dan Brown. There are but a few pages with limited sex to break the monotony of a theological thriller. And the sex is leisurely described in a very dignified manner considering the genre of the book. The author takes a rather long time taking you round and round the world before he lays down the plot. The book is initially slow. It takes its own sweet time to build up but that’s because of its complicated plot that takes a long time to brew. The plot is not established till almost page 81. The book quite munificently deals with previous births and regressions. The theological rigmarole of certain Indian states and cities such as Goa, J&K, Mumbai and some more have been covered in great detail. Many things are happening in this narration simultaneously so it’s a bit difficult for the reader to keep pace with. It’s a difficult plot and requires some concentrated reading and is in no way a light book. There are too many characters so its difficult to remember their names. It’s not some linear narration instead it goes around the world in small paragraphs and sub-chapters. The book in fact is an assimilation of small sub-tiles finally bound into a story and thick spine. It appears the author has made some deep commendable study before embarking on the mission to write it. It’s a taxing novel dealing in religion and therefore provocative, but one must take it as a fiction. It’s got some great hypnotizing scenes as well that only helps in building the overall plot.

    The narration is through small chapters. It’s a complicated novel. Ghalib is one of the main characters. The book certainly takes you on a world tour. Did Jesus take Samadhi? Was Jesus revived the book runs all over? It’s an old history intertwined into fiction. The book destroys the fundamental belief that Jesus died on the cross. The research has been fictionalized quite subtly. The uniqueness of the book is that you are never in the thick and thin of the story as it keeps changing. One wonders at times where did Ashwin get the details from? Though the book is titled ‘The Rozabal Line’ yet the word Rozabal is used for the first time on page 210 more than halfway down and that explains why the suspense of the plot is so deadly. The book doesn’t give you a feel as if you’re reading a novel on the contrary it makes you feel as if you’re reading some live pieces or columns. It’s a very confusing novel with a plethora of names. You will keep changing your opinion about the narration as you go along the book. The book has a engrossing plot. Small pieces of writing knit the elaborate narration. There are many sessions on resurrections. The main plot of the book is constructed on so many fragments that one gets lost in its detailing. The book connects you with all major religions of the world. The plot has a long build-up. From where to where even the Nagas of India are there. Read it with full concentration to enjoy the book otherwise, you’re wasting time. The author summarises the novel towards the end for the convenience of the readers. I would give the novel eight out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our Publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai; Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida; India. Shoolini University, Yogananda Knowledge Center, Himachal Pradesh and Azim Premzi University, Bangalore).  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K; Herrick District Library, Holland and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, USA).

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; Indica, 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; Happy Days, November 15, 2020; The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15,2020; Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; Poverty 15.11.21; Top View 30.11.21; The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22;

(ALL THE ABOVE BOOK TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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INTERESTING FACTS FIGURES & QUOTES-46–ARAB ISRAEL CONFLICT

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   Arab-Israel war is an age old holy war. The conflict is primordial.

    The contemporary history of the Arab–Israeli conflict is very much affected by the religious beliefs of the two sides, and their views of the idea of the chosen people. (Now what is chosen people? Throughout History, various groups of people have considered themselves to be the chosen people or a deity’s extension on earth. In monotheistic faiths, that believes in only one God, references to God are used in constructs such as chosen people). In this context it is their policies with regard to the “Promised Land” and the “Chosen City” of Jerusalem.

    The Land of Canaan or Eretz Yisrael  (Land of Israel), according to the Hebrew Bible, was promised by God to the Children of Israel. This is also mentioned in the Quran. (Sura 17, in the night journey verse). In his 1896 manifesto, The Jewish State’s, Theodor Herzl repeatedly refers to the Biblically Promised Land concept.  (Theodor Herzl is a Jewish, Astro-Hungarian, journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer who was the father of modern Zionism, and formed the Zionist organization). Likud is currently the most prominent Israeli political party to include the Biblical claim to the Land of Israel in its platform.

    Muslims also claim rights to that land in accordance with the Quran. Contrary to the Jewish claim that this land was promised only to the descendants of Abraham’s grandson Jacob (that is Yisrael), (Just for reference Abraham is the common patriarch of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and some other religions. In Judaism (the religion of Jews) Abraham is the founding father of the covenant (the agreement) of the pieces, the special relationship between the Hebrews and God. (In Christianity he is the prototype of all believers) (Jacob, the grandson of Abraham was later given the name Israel, and is regarded as the patriarch of Israelites and so is an important figure in Abrahamic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Jacob first appears in the book of Genesis, (the first book of Hebrew Bible) as the son of Isaac and Rebecca and the grandson of Abraham). The Arabs argue that the Land of Canaan was promised to what they consider the elder son of Abraham, Ishmael, from whom Arabs claim descent. Additionally, Muslims also revere, many sites, holy for Biblical Israelites, such as the Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount. In the past 1,400 years, Muslims have constructed Islamic landmarks on these ancient Israelite sites, such as the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa-Mosque on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. This has brought the two groups into conflict over the rightful possession of Jerusalem. Muslim teaching is that Muhammad passed through Jerusalem on his first journey to heaven. 

    Then we have Hamas, that governs the Gaza Strip (Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni Islamic fundamentalist militant organization. It has a social service wing, Dawah, and a military wing, called the Izz-ad din-al-Qassam Brigades. It has been the de-facto governing authority of Gaza Strip since its takeover of that area in 2007). (The Gaza Strip, or simply Gaza, is a self-governing Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 km an Israel on the east and north along a 51 km border. Gaza and West Bank are cleared by the de-jure claims that all of the land of Palestine (which is the current Israeli and Palestinian territories) is an Islamic Waqf that must be governed by the Muslims.

    Now let’s come to Christian Zionists. Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the holy land and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 were in accordance with the Bible prophecy. The term began to be used in the mid-20th century, superseding Christian Restorationism that often supports the State of Israel because of the ancestral right of the Jews to the Holy Land, as suggested, for instance, by the apostle Paul.

    Paul the apostle commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Hebrew name Saul of Taurus, was an apostle (disciple of Jesus) who taught the gospel of Christ to the first century world. Paul is generally considered one of the most important figures of the apostolic age. Christian Zionism teaches that the return of Jews to Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Christ.

    The roots of the modern, Arab–Israeli conflict, lie in the rise of Zionism and the reactionary Arab nationalism that arose in response to Zionism towards the end of the 19th century. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and presently belonging to the Palestinian Arabs. Before World War I, the Middle East, including Palestine (later Mandatory Palestine a geopolitical entity established between 1920 and 1948 in the region of Palestine under the terms of the Mandate for Palestine), had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. During the closing years of their empire, the Ottomans began to espouse their Turkish ethnic identity, asserting the primacy of Turks within the empire, leading to discrimination against the Arabs. The promise of liberation from the Ottomans led many Jews and Arabs to support the allied powers during World War I, leading to the emergence of widespread Arab nationalism. Both Arab nationalism and Jewish Zionism had their formulative beginning in Europe. The Zionist Congress was established in Basel, Switzerland in 1897, while the “Arab Club” was established in Paris in 1906.

    In the late 19th century European and Middle Eastern Jewish communities began to increasingly immigrate to Palestine and purchase land from the local Ottoman landlords. The population of the late 19th century in Palestine reached 600,000 – mostly Muslim Arabs, but also significant minorities of Jews, Christians, Druze (sect of Islam) and some Samaritans and Bahai’s. At that time, Jerusalem did not extend beyond the walled area and had a population of only a few tens of thousands. Communal settlement called kibbutz, were established, as was the first entirely Jewish city Tel Aviv in modern times.

    During 1915–16, as World War I was underway, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, secretly corresponded with Husayn-ibn-Ali, the patriarch of the Hashemite family (the Jordan royals) and Ottoman governor of Mecca and Medina. McMahon convinced Husayn to lead an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany against Britain and France in the war. McMahon promised that if the Arabs supported Britain in the war, the British government would support the establishment of an independent Arab state under Hashemite rule in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine. The Arab revolt, led by T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) and Husayn’s son Faysal, was successful in defeating the Ottomans, and Britain took control over much of this area.

    The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 broke out when five Arab nations invaded the territory in the former Palestinian mandate, immediately, following the announcement of the independence of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. In 1947, and again on May 14, 1948, the United States had offered a de-facto recognition of the Israeli Provisional Government, but during the war, the United States maintained an arms embargo against all belligerents.

    On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (also known as the Partition Resolution) that would divide Great Britain’s former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states in May 1948. Under the resolution, the area of religious significance surrounding Jerusalem would remain under international control administered by the United Nations. The Palestinian Arabs refused to recognize this arrangement, which they regarded as favourable to the Jews and unfair to the Arab population that would remain in Jewish territory under the partition. The United States sought a middle way by supporting the United Nations resolution, but also encouraged negotiations between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.

    The United Nations resolution sparked conflict between Jewish and Arab groups within Palestine. Fighting began with attacks by irregular bands of Palestinian Arabs attached to local units of the Arab Liberation Army composed of volunteers from Palestine and neighbouring Arab countries. These groups launched their attacks against Jewish cities, settlements, and armed forces. The Jewish forces were composed of the Haganah, the underground militia of the Jewish community in Palestine, and two small irregular groups, the Irgun, and LEHI. The goal of the Arabs was initially to block the Partition Resolution and to prevent the establishment of the Jewish state. The Jews, on the other hand, hoped to gain control over the territory allotted to them under the Partition Plan.

    After Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, the fighting intensified with other Arab forces joining the Palestinian Arabs in attacking the territory in the former Palestinian mandate. On the eve of May 14, the Arabs launched an air attack on Tel Aviv, which the Israelis resisted. This action was followed by the invasion of the former Palestinian mandate by Arab armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia sent a formation that fought under the Egyptian command. British trained forces from Trans-jordan eventually intervened in the conflict, but only in areas that had been designated as part of the Arab state under the United Nations Partition Plan and the Corpus-Separatum of Jerusalem in 1947. After tense early fighting, Israeli forces, under joint command, were able to gain the offensive.

    Though the United Nations brokered two cease-fires during the conflict, fighting continued into 1949. Israel and the Arab states did not reach any formal armistice agreements until February. Under separate agreements between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, and Syria, these bordering nations agreed to a formal armistice lines. Israel gained some territory formerly granted to Palestinian Arabs under the United Nations resolution in 1947. Egypt and Jordan retained control over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively. These armistice lines were held until 1967. The United States did not become directly involved with the armistice negotiations, but hoped that instability in the Middle East would not interfere with the international balance of power between the Soviet Union of those times and the United States.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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